Booker upbeat after latest sales figures

Booker last week unveiled positive sales figures for the second quarter of 2012.

Total sales (excluding the recently-acquired Makro) in the 12 weeks to 14 September 2012 rose by 4.3% on the same period last year. Non-tobacco sales were 3.9% higher, while tobacco sales rose by 5.1%. On a like-for-like basis, total sales rose by 4.4%, non-tobacco sales by 3.8% and tobacco sales by 5.4%. 

Total sales (again excluding Makro) for the 24 weeks to 14 September 2012 rose by 3.3% on the same period last year. Non-tobacco sales were 4.2% higher, while tobacco sales rose by 2.0%. On a like-for-like basis total sales rose by 3.1%, non-tobacco sales by 3.8% and tobacco sales by 1.8%.

Booker Wholesale, the cash and carry division, had what was described as “a good half”.  Customer satisfaction further improved, customer numbers were up and sales matched expectations, said the company. Booker Direct, its delivered wholesale division, also had a good half.  Ritter Courivaud, the company’s speciality foods Features > Business, performed well.  Classic, its on-trade wholesaler, had a good period and has been rolled out into a further five Booker branches.  Chef Direct, the foodservice business launched in January, was “making good progress” having secured several catering accounts.

As at 14 September 2012 net cash was £70m versus net cash of £59m a year ago.  Following a good first half the outlook for the year as a whole remains unchanged. 

Charles Wilson, Booker’s chief executive, said: “Booker Wholesale and Booker Direct have had a good start to the year as we continue to improve choice, price and service.  We are confident that once we have clearance from the competition authorities, Booker and Makro will be able to improve choice, prices and service for the caterers, retailers and small business in the UK.  Makro will prove a good addition to the Booker Group”.

Booker acquired Makro on 4 July.  An OFT competition review process is ongoing and until this review is complete, Booker is required to hold the Makro business separate from Booker.  Booker Group plc will announce interim results for the 24 weeks to 14 September 2012  on 18 October.

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